1. Find (at least) 3 hours.
Volunteering even just three hours a year (the time it takes to re-watch Titanic) is enough to make an impact in your child’s performance, according to The National Parent-Teacher Association’s Three for Me Program.
2. Learn your school’s volunteer policy.
Some schools require proof of a negative tuberculosis test while others ask volunteers to be fingerprinted. You need to know this stuff before you can start.
3. Ask your kids how they’d like you to be involved.
Since you’re doing this for your kid’s benefit, it’s a good idea to take into consideration how they’d like you to be involved.
4. Be proactive.
Instead of waiting for someone at the school to ask you to get involved, take the first step and reach out to your kid’s teachers and the administration.
5. Go to PTA meetings.
These can admittedly be pretty boring, but they’re a terrific resource for finding out what’s happening at your kid’s school.
6. Ask about “Take Your Family To School Week.”
The National PTA holds this annual event February 17th through the 21st. Use this time to ask your kid’s school about opportunities to get involved.
7. Sign up to be a class reader.
Don’t let Britney throw you… it’s not even remotely scary, and your kids will love seeing you in front of the class.
8. Volunteer to be a classroom parent.
If you have a fair amount of time to spend at the school this is an awesome opportunity to help with classroom parties and projects.
9. Share your expertise.
If you have an interesting job, ask if you can give a classroom presentation about it. Similarly, if you have a special skill or knowledge students would benefit from learning about, inquire about sharing it with them.
10. Offer to chaperone field trips.
Looking after all those kids is a big job, so let the school know you’d like to go along for the ride. The bus driver especially will appreciate the extra help.
11. Lend a hand at dances and recitals.
These events are ideal for parents who absolutely can’t get away during the day. Ask your school - there’s a lot more going on in the evening than you realize.
12. Tutor students.
One-on-one time is so valuable for kids, but as a former teacher I can tell you teachers simply don’t have enough time in the day to get to every kid.
13. Help out in science centers and computer labs.
An especially great place to offer one-on-one help is in science, art and computer labs. If you have a familiarity with any of these subjects students will benefit tremendously from your presence.
14. Check in with the library.
They often need help shelving books, helping students with reading, and any number of other tasks non-library folk like us never think about.
15. Assist with extra curricular activities like drama and art.
You don’t think kids learn these funky moves without a little extra help, do you? Parents can assist with costumes for the school plays, or even offer to wash the smocks in the art room.
16. You can assist on the sports field, too.
From helping with practice to coordinating snacks, travel, and team parties, there’s always a need for an extra helping hand.
17. Don’t be afraid to try out different ways to be involved.
If one hat doesn’t fit, so to speak, try another. It might take a little to find the involvement that works best for you, but once you do you’ll be happy and able to play a more valuable role at the school.